The squatty potty is a rage and it seems like just another health trend that people will obsess over today and you hope will eventually go away. But here is why you may need to look at this more seriously and consider how it might actually benefit your health instead of dismissing it as another passing fad.
In places like India, people still use a version of toilet that has a hole in the ground and one needs to physically squat to do their business. The squatty potty does the same but by merely elevating your feet so as to stimulate the same experience for your body, as people today have become very used to the ‘sitting chair poopy position’.
Either ways, you may want to know why squatting is such a big deal. Haven’t people been pooping like this for years and decades, you may argue? Actually this way of elimination has only been practiced for a few decades appearing sometime around the 5th century B.C. Roman public toilets presented a place for citizens to sit and socialize while unloading their poop. (See your unhealthy obsession for wanting to know what’s happening with the world while reading the newspaper or the phone, goes ways back).
However, thousands of years later, more reserved European and Western societies still favored to squat over chamber pots in private rooms. Around the 18th or 19th centuries, this mainstay began to give way to the outhouse, and squatting gradually started to fall out of favor.
The modern flush toilet came into being in the 1890s and by the 1920s, as sit toilets were cemented in bathrooms across the country, and pooping transformed from an impure deed into one of luxury and leisure. Hence, the modern colloquial term for our toilets as ‘thrones’.
Why Squatting Makes Sense?
- Your body is meant to be in a squatting position to properly eliminate stuff from your colon. You can control to some extent your need to defecate by contracting or releasing the sphincter on your backside. But that sphincter muscle can’t maintain proper pooping function on its own.
- Our body relies on a bend between the rectum, where the feces is stored- and the anus- where the feces comes out.
- When you’re sitting, the angle is ‘kinked’, which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps your poop inside. Not only does this create straining and constipation, but it also inhibits complete elimination – which means that you can have old feces stuck in your lower digestive tract.
- When we’re standing up, the extent of this bend, called the anorectal angle, is about 90 degrees, which like we discussed earlier, puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps feces inside. In order to evacuate our bowels more easily, it’s desirable to have this angle straighten (to 180 degrees). However, when sitting on a toilet this angle increases by a mere 10 degrees. Hardly an improvement. On the other hand, squatting increases it by 36 degrees. In a squatting posture, the bend straightens out, like a kink ringed out of a garden hose, and defecation becomes easier.
- Many studies point to fecal buildup in the colon as a cause of diseases including colon cancer. And when there is buildup in the colon, our bodies can’t absorb all the nutrients from the food we eat, leaving us without the energy we could enjoy if our colons were healthy.
- A new research suggests that squatting can help avoid and eliminate Hemorrhoids—a painful swelling of the veins in the anal canal that affects half of all Americans. Hemorrhoids may be brought on by pregnancy, obesity, and receiving anal sex. But the main cause is straining during bowel movement. Straining increases the pressure in your abdomen, causing the veins that line your anus to swell. In hemorrhoid patients, those veins stay swollen and sometimes bleed. In theory, squatting might stave off hemorrhoids by making defecation easier, reducing the need to strain and decreasing abdominal pressure.
- Urinary flow is usually stronger and easier when women squat to urinate. The bladder is emptied more completely when squatting rather than sitting or ‘hovering’. Squatting can help reduce episodes of urinary tract infections in both frequency and intensity.
Are There Any Studies Proving This?
An Israeli doctor named Dov Sikirov tested this idea for a 2003 study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences. He had several dozen patients defecate in each of three positions: sitting on a 16-inch-high toilet, sitting on a 12-inch-high toilet, and squatting over a plastic container. He asked his subjects to record how long each bowel movement took and rate the effort required on a four-point scale ranging from effortless to difficult. Sikirov found that, when squatting, subjects averaged a mere 51 seconds to move their bowels, versus 130 seconds when sitting on a high toilet. And as they moved from a sit to a squat, subjects were more likely to rate the experience as easier.
A group of Japanese doctors extended Sikirov’s findings by looking at what happens inside the body while people squat and sit. For a study published in the medical journal Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms, six subjects had their rectums filled with a contrast solution and then released the fluid from a squatting or a sitting position while being filmed with X-ray video. Image analysis showed that the anorectal angle increased from 100 degrees to 126 degrees as the subjects moved from a sit to a squat. The researchers also recorded abdominal pressure, and found that the subjects were straining less when they squatted.
Ayurvedic Rituals To Follow For Better Pooping
Relax for a few minutes after waking. Don’t check your phone or emails straight away. Like every other muscle in the body, the sphincter also responds to tension. So keep it relaxed. Think relaxing thoughts.
Drink a tall glass of warm water/lemon water or herbal tea as this awakens the digestive system and stimulates peristalsis in the intestines.
In yoga, this pose is called ‘Malasana’. This yoga pose helps open the abdominal area and helps in an easier bowel movement.
Go When Ready
You might have heard, that you need to keep a schedule for your bathroom time or go before you leave home and other things when you were a kid. This is how parents toilet train young children and although this may work for establishing a pattern, some adults unfortunately carry this throughout their adulthood. They may sit for a long time, trying to force the poop out. Don’t be this person. After your warm drink, when you feel ready, transition to the toilet. Once there, squat by resting your elbows on your knees and bending forward slightly, rather than sitting up straight.
Don’t read or surf the Internet or make a call. If possible, don’t even think. Relax your body. Relax your belly, pelvis, and sphincter. Drop your weight into the support of your elbows on your knees. If you’re suffering from constipation, then visualize your sphincter muscles relax (because often the contraction will cause a lot of abdominal pain) and breathe deeply.
Excellent position, how will I get up after my knees lock, maybe I'll sign up for a medical assistance. Lawd have mercy pond me....
Really is this really necessary? How about eating bran and ground flax then you will see if all this really makes any difference, long before the modern toilet ya perhaps, now we have modern toilet so really few people are actually doing this..
lol no thought you were being barbaric because the toilets we have are built for sitting not squatting like the toilets in asia!!!
I'm just trying to picture myself squatting on the commode, breaking your freaking neck that's how I picked myself.
How do you expect people with Bad Knees to do this? There's No way that I could Possibly do this along with the Elderly
I was at a restaurant the other day and the TV was on Rachel Rae. I would never watch her at home LOL and they had the squatty potty on there. It's supposed to really work!
Commode is useful fir those old people who can not squat due to knee probkem. Constipation is common with old people also.
Yup!! Try putting a step-stool under your feet while you poop!! I tried it for the first time last night. What a difference!!!
Wow, thats why there is sometimes footprints on the toilet seat at work. Geeze though, dont you have to take your pants totally off?? Hmmm, not sure how I feel about that. It does seem like a "neandrathal" type of behavior.
Defaecating in the open fields in rainy season... with blades of grass tickling home,------a life time experience , only India can offer .
"How deep can you delve to conduct such a research ? " And the tribulations you undergo for data collection ! Recommendations for IgNobel awards indeed...
An engineering analysis of the positions for effective pooping shows that the squatting is the most efficient way to excrete. Humans are designed for squatting and pooping. Commode is a poor design
Caveman & Cavewomen do that long years ago . If you hike in deep forest , hunting , fishing , mountain biking and etc .
Ok then women need urinals attatched to the front. If i squatted on my toilet, id pee on the floor or the wall in front of me.
When I grew up i used to squat and never had bloated problem and 20 odd years fast forward it takes me 1-2 weeks to actually pass something out. It's horrible walking around with a tummy stuffed of poops.
Any foot stool will work...I've been using this for years before I ever known why... just knew it helped new go....